Walton County Ranks #2 in the State for School Grades

Dec 13, 2023 | Communities, DeFuniak Springs, Freeport, Walton & Beyond

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Walton County School District Continues to Rise

On Monday, the Florida Department of Education released informational baseline school grades for the 2022-2023 school year.  School districts across Florida were anxiously awaiting these results as new legislation stated grades were being released “this winter”.  School grades experienced a delay due to new state testing that began last year.  State testing consists of the new FAST (Florida Assessment for Student Thinking), B.E.S.T. (Benchmarks for Excellence in Student Thinking), EOC (End of Course), and statewide assessment exams.  School districts are graded on the following tested areas:  English Language Arts (grades 3-10); Math (grades 3-8); Science (grades 5 and 8); and specific EOC exams in Biology, Algebra I, Geometry, Civics, and US History.  In addition to testing, each school’s middle/high school acceleration data and high school graduation rates are included in total possible school/district grade points.

Based on this informational data released, the Walton County School District is once again an “A” district and has now scored an “A” for the past five years.  This is the longest maintained “A” rating in the district’s history.  In addition to this accolade, again this year, all schools in Walton County are rated as an “A” or “B” school.  For 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, this feat was only achieved by four other school districts across the State.

For 2022-2023, Walton schools receiving an “A” are Paxton, West DeFuniak Elementary, Walton High, Freeport Elementary, Freeport Middle, Freeport High, Van R. Butler Elementary, Dune Lakes Elementary, Emerald Coast Middle, South Walton High (which includes the Magnet Innovation Center), and Seaside Neighborhood School.  Schools receiving a “B” are Mossy Head, Maude Saunders Elementary, and Walton Middle School.  WISE and Walton Academy, who receive school improvement ratings in lieu of school grades, do not receive a rating this year.

After analyzing all the counties in the State, Walton ranks second in school grade components with 75 percentage points.  This ranking is an increase for Walton, as the district was the third highest ranked school district last year.  Congratulations to Lafayette County, the number one district in the state, and also St. Johns County which ties Walton for the second highest position in the entire State.

Superintendent A. Russell Hughes holding his award.

Walton County’s Superintendent, A. Russell Hughes, who was just named the 2024 Superintendent of the Year for the State of Florida, gave all the praise to the entire Walton County School District system. He stated, “High stakes testing keeps us accountable. I remain in awe and I am constantly reminded of the hard work and dedication of all our stakeholders that galvanize effective collaboration. These include teachers who teach with intentional precision, compassion, and expertise; extraordinary ESP team; and caring leaders, both district and school based, who lead with confidence and passion. Ultimately, we have the most amazing students in the world that give their best and perform well on these assessments with the support of their parents and guardians.  With all of these components Walton County School District exemplifies the acronym EPIC (Excellence-Professionalism-Innovation-Collaboration) in which we live by.” Superintendent Hughes goes on to give thanks and recognition to the strong, competent, passionate, and active support from the Walton County School Board members.

His final words spoken to the entire Walton County Community. “As Superintendent, on behalf of the entire Walton County School District, the school board, our 1600 plus employees, and our 12,000 plus students, it is a privilege to work with all stakeholders to deliver these results, and we look forward to continuing to improve our scores and investing more than ever into our children as we prepare them for a life of success. EPIC is the way!”

For more information on the Walton County School District, please visit https://www.walton.k12.fl.us. To view the statewide and district-level state assessment results, visit 2023 Assessment Results at https://www.fldoe.org/accountability/accountability-reporting/school-grades/.


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